But are you still left wondering how to choose the right firm? Here is a breif PR roadmap to keep in mind when hiring a firm.
Rule #1: Size Doesn't Matter : Despite what you may have been told over the years, size does not matter (at least when it comes to public relations!). An independent PR consultant, running her own operation, is just as capable of getting your company's message into print or on television as a large agency. While a larger firm has the physical bodies needed to handle the administrative and telephone work of PR, a smaller firm can make up for a lack of staff with enthusiasm and focus. Choose the smartest, most experienced and most knowledgeable people -- not necessarily the largest firm. You won't regret the decision.
Rule #2: Is It A Good Fit? Do your prospective PR consultants outline a possible PR plan for you? Do they listen to your comments and your suggestions during the initial meeting? Do you get the sense that your organization's needs will be met by the firm or consultant you want to hire?
The people you hire need good listening skills. And they need to have a solid feel for your industry and an understanding of how the media work. They also need to know how your organization works. If they don’t value your opinions and react quickly to your needs, they’re not a good fit for your organization.
Rule #3: Always On Call: Your PR consultant works for you, not the other way around. That means nine to five arrangements are not acceptable. You should expect, and get, seven day a week service from any agency or consultant you hire. The problem with larger agencies is that they will rarely be able to offer you that type of arrangement - shop around for an agency or consultant who can offer you 24/7 service. Many larger agencies will woo you with one of their senior partners or top creative people, then assign a junior staff person to work directly with you. Beware the “bait and switch” approach!
Being able to pick up the telephone and call your PR consultant with a question or a comment, and have someone pick up at the other end, is invaluable to you. Clear, direct and regular communication is a very important part of the relationship you will build with your PR consultant or agency.
STAY TUNED FOR MORE TIPS MONDAY. In the meantime, are you thinking about hiring a PR firm? Call us for a Free 30 Minute Consultation.